Treofan steps up development of biodegradable film

By Ahmed ElAmin

- Last updated on GMT

Related tags Polylactic acid Bioplastic

The Treofan Group has transferred the production and development of
its biodegradable packaging film to Germany from a plant in France.

Over the past year packaging suppliers have been introducing various forms of biodegradable plastics made from a variety of plants, in the main corn, based on projects that there will be a growing demand for environmentally-friendly packaging driven by consumers and recycling regulations. Some companies are predicting that the market will grow by about 20 per cent a year.

The development is also being pushed by the escalating price of oil, which is bringing traditional petroleum based polymers into the same range as the previously more expensive non-oil based packaging.

Food packagers last year faced price hikes of between 30 per cent to 80 per cent for conventional plastics due to the increased cost of petroleum. With the increases some bioplastics products reached full price competitiveness with the traditional oil-based packaging.

Treofan says the move of production to Germany is part of a plan to further develop its Biophan brand of biodegradable film for other food packaging uses.

"In the context of Treofan's product strategy Biophan has been given the highest priority and continues to show exceptional sales growth,"​ she said. "Sales in 2005 have more than doubled compared to 2004."

Company spokesperson Cynthia Ahrens told that the original Biophan laminated film is currently used for food packaging in the EU.

Monoprix for example is using the standard Biophan for salads and for its "Coeur de Lion" camembert cheese. Biophan is in use at the supermarket Albert Heyn, one of the biggest in the Netherlands, as part of the packaging for vegetables, fruit and salads, she said.

The material is also being used as labels, for example in US for bottles.

Biophan is made from polylactic acid (PLA), a corn-based polymer developed by US-based NatureWorks, a unit of Cargill. Ahrens said Treofan is now developing metallized, white and opaque versions of its PLA-based Biophan for the wider market.

Biophan was originally made at a plant at Mantes-la-Ville, France. Treofan sold the plant to a local company, Polyfilms, this January. Production will be transferred to Neunkirchen in Germany.

Neunkirchen has the infrastructure to support speciality productuon with research and development, a laboratory for quality assurance as well as technical service and a pilot production line on site, Treofan stated.

"This support means that for new product developments the scale up time from concept to commercialisation can be minimised and customer requirements realised in months rather than years,"​ the company stated.

Treofan is headquartered in Raunheim, Germany. Along with Biophan, the company manufactures and markets Treofan biaxial oriented polypropylene film (BOPP) and cast polypropylene film.

The company currently manufacturing about 250,000 tonnes of film a year at seven sites located around the world.

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